Gas barrier coatings have become increasingly important in a wide range of industries to protect products from different gases’ undesired effects. These coatings are applied to plastic, glass, or metal surfaces and act as a layer that slows down or prevents gas molecules’ diffusion. The main gases targeted by these barrier coatings are oxygen, water vapor, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. Gas barrier coatings can significantly increase product shelf-life, reduce product spoilage, and maintain product quality.
The selection of gas barrier coatings depends on the product to be protected, the required barrier performance, and the manufacturing process. In some cases, the coating material needs to be compatible with the product’s packaging material, while in others, the substrate’s thermal resistance and process cost are essential considerations. Several coating technologies are used, such as plasma-enhanced chemical vapor deposition (PECVD), atomic layer deposition (ALD), chemical vapor deposition (CVD), and roll-to-roll coating. These technologies allow coatings to be deposited with different thicknesses and targeted barrier properties.
Applications of gas barrier coatings are found in the packaging of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, food and beverages, electronics and solar panels, and fuel cells. In the pharmaceutical industry, gas barrier coatings protect the drugs from moisture and oxygen exposure, which can reduce their efficacy. In the food industry, gas barrier coatings keep food fresh, reduce food waste, and prevent spoilage. Lastly, in the electronics industry and solar panels, gas barrier coatings prevent water and oxygen exposure, which can damage sensitive components.
Contact NANOKOTE for gas barrier coatings, especially as applied to stainless steel for use in food contact applications.